people, manufacturing, brands, jeff, audience, content, manufacturers, terms, kurt, podcast, readers, reach, pandemic, videos, david, newsletters, company, print, bigger, media
Damon Pistulka, Jeff Reinke, Curt Anderson, Anna Wells
Damon Pistulka 00:00
courting Jeff’s on stage. So, yeah, there we go. All right. Well, we are going to get started on LinkedIn here as well. And we’ll get rolling. So I want to check one thing quick. Boom, there we go. As the video plays on the live feed Alright everyone, Welcome once again to another exciting episode of the manufacturing ecommerce success theories. I’m one of your co host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I’ve got none other than Kurt Anderson, manufacturing e commerce guru. And how are things today Kurt? And let’s get this party started.
Curt Anderson 00:55
Well, let’s get you know I got Dan bigger out you know, I’m a little I’m going to be in trouble. You know, I’m gonna be scolded by Dan bigger. We’re a minute behind. But hey, we have an amazing, incredible program this week for you guys. So Kurt Anderson, my my more handsome host over here, Damon Pistulka. Just rocking it in Seattle. So guys, we have manufacturing dotnet in the house today. So let’s just jump right in. And Jeff, welcome, guys. Thank you for joining us today. How are things in Madison? They’re warm, Kurt very well. How hard is it in Madison?
Jeff Reinke 01:30
It’s got to be at least 90 right now. We’ve been on hold for about a week where it’s been like that and it’s humid. So we’re we’re looking for some rain or something to break it. Okay,
Curt Anderson 01:39
well, better. It’s better and snow. So, guys, welcome to the program. We’re gonna just jump right into things. So, Anna, we had a great conversation the other day, and I wanted my first question to you is why manufacturing? How did you find yourself in this whole manufacturing world? What happened? When you were a little girl growing up? Were you like, Man, I’m gonna get into manufacturing. How did how did that how did this transpire?
Anna Wells 02:04
You know, that’s a good question. I’ve been asked that before. You know, when I grew up, when I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer. That was first and foremost. And I got into trade media kind of out of college. And once I hit the manufacturing market, I realized how much I enjoyed it. I think writing content and producing content for people who are very passionate about what they do you know, that sort of addictive right so once I got to know the audience and see how many cool hardworking people there are, and how innovative and interesting manufacturing and design and distribution actually are. I was hooked.
Curt Anderson 02:49
All the all the cool kids are hanging out manufacturing. Right, Dan? So just I same question to you, my friend. How did you find yourself and were you a journalism major? Was this a path that you were heading towards? And then why manufacturing? Well, actually,
Jeff Reinke 03:04
Kurt, my story goes back a little further. I lost the coin toss. legitimately. That’s how I am where I am right now. I am I was a junior in college at the University Wisconsin whitewater applied for an internship at what was then Johnson Hill press that I was one of two people or one of two people there pick to fill the two internship spots. And I lost the coin toss. So I ended up in a manufacturing group.
And the people that I that are the transportation group and the people that I learned from and got to know in that group are the same people I work with today. So transition from two different publishing companies. But if I went the loss a coin toss and gotten to know Tom and Anna and David and Eric. Who knows.
Curt Anderson 03:48
Well, thank you for that little backdrop. So let’s dig in guys. So if you’re if I don’t know who and manufacturing won’t be familiar, but manufacturing dotnet industrial news. So you guys are with industrial media. We had my dear friend God, I love the sky. David. Manti was on the program back in February. absolutely crushed it. David, I think you’re with us today, Brother, you know, you’re the best.
So you know, we had to come back to you guys and pull you on the show. So talk a little bit. How Tell me, you guys, I know how deep you want to go. But you shared a great story on how industrial news came to fruition and manufacturing that net. We want to share a little bit like how did this party get started in your world?
Jeff Reinke 04:28
Yeah, so as I was saying, we were all initially at Cygnus working together on different brands. The opportunity came up. Richard Wright, who was the president at Cygnus started doing his own thing created advantage business media and he bought some brands there. He hired Tom Lynch, who then in turn look to some editorial people like Anna and David and myself. And I came to advantage we took over a group of brands in the manufacturing sector, that when we took them over, we’re losing about a million dollars annually.
And within less than four years, we turn those brands into producing more than $3 million in profit annually. So we did that through a lot of the stuff we’re going to talk about in terms of content and paying attention to the market and, and things like that. Can. Jeff, I’m
Curt Anderson 05:11
sorry, could you please say that again, you were losing How much? Were those brands, when
Jeff Reinke 05:16
we initially came into ABM, we’re losing about a million dollars a year. And you guys did what we put together did a lot of hard work, and really transitioned a lot of those things and advanced a lot of our digital brands to create revenues profit of more than $3 million annually. Wow, dude,
Curt Anderson 05:33
I’m dropping the mic, man. That was just there, guys. I just kudos you guys. That was awesome. So what a great, great story. So the thing is, you know, it’s so common if you’re not in journalism, not on that media side, you’re just like, Well, you know, in manufacturing, we produce a widget, we make it, we sell it, okay, that’s tangible. I get it. Media, you know, we’re selling service, we’re selling words, we’re selling content. So now you guys have a full menu. So you have a full menu of brands? share a little bit of the other different brands that fall under your umbrella? Sure.
Anna Wells 06:07
Yeah, sure. So um, so I think what Jeff didn’t get to is after we, we were at advantage business media for quite a few years, we kind of stuck out on our own and formed industrial media with a group of kind of trusted associates. So we own industrial equipment news, which is a very old brand that’s been reaching this audience for a very long time. We target you know, readers with kind of products, content, a lot of news, case studies, technical articles, things like that. So industrial equipment, news is kind of one of our flagship brands.
But the the interesting, I guess, development A few years later, was that the company we used to work for, went out of business, and we bought a few of the brands that were, you know, up for auction at that point, and took them back over. So there are brands that we had run for a very long time manufacturing dotnet, which reaches a huge audience in manufacturing, distribution, supply chain design, food manufacturing, industrial distribution that reaches distributors, everybody from Granger to the small mom and pop shops.
So what what what that enabled us to do was really kind of expand our reach across the entire supply chain, we try to reach every market niche that we can. So everybody from design, to manufacturing to distribution, supply chain folks in between so so we do that through a lot of digital products, we put out 13, daily newsletters 13 they all reach a separate audience.
we populate those with a lot of news content, product content, videos, we have a video department where we produce Daily News type videos, we create videos around people’s new products that reach industrial buyers, we tour factories and do videos. So we do a lot of instructional type stuff, webinars Q and A’s with industry experts. We have a podcast. In fact, Jeff and I are doing back to back podcast today. So if we start to get a little crazy, that’s probably what, what’s happening.
Curt Anderson 08:28
Now, for anybody that’s not familiar, you have an amazing podcast again with our dear friend, David Manti and the two of you so and it’s today in manufacturing. And you put that out? Is that a weekly podcast?
Anna Wells 08:40
Yep, that’s right. Yep. So every Monday that goes out to our audience, via our social channels, as well as our E newsletters. And that’s been super fun. Just we we talk about like the top stories on our websites every week and kind of try to add a little context to what’s going on with those issues with our readers. So yeah, we you know, we do a lot of digital stuff, we have to print magazines, that between the two of them reach more than 200,000 people every other month. And then we have social media channels for every brand. So it’s a it’s a busy life, but
Curt Anderson 09:18
you have a full full menu. And I think like you just said, and I think the roots of the company actually go back to like, what was it 1930s 1933 or something like if you trace it, trace it back. Exactly.
Anna Wells 09:28
Yep. And industrial distribution was started in 1911. It was called mill times, I believe. And so it’s actually one of the longest running trade publications that still exists, actually. So that’s kind of exciting that that’s still relevant. You know, we still have a very engaged audience on that brand. So nice.
Curt Anderson 09:53
Yeah. Awesome. And I tell you guys are just cylinders. You know, for me Factoring knighted states you guys do such an amazing, incredible job. And it’s awesome seeing, you know, here’s a fan, a brand of a product brand that stems back over a century.
And you’ve just stayed, you know, on the, on the cutting edge of, of media, whatever that transition was. So when you look at your menu today podcast, I know you guys do an amazing job of videos, as we’re seeing right now as an example, content. So let’s dig into a little bit on what you’re seeing what went on for you guys internally through COVID? So we know, you know, we’ll get into like what went on in the manufacturing world? What type of transitions Did you guys take on internally over this past year? What were things that you saw, or you had to adjust to?
Jeff Reinke 10:41
Well, I think the big thing for us, Kurt is when we were going from signals to ABM, from ABM to industrial media, we really didn’t do anything that differently. And the core of our business has always been listening to the reader, that that’s come from day one. It’s always been, it’s a super simple concept. But it’s also very easy to lose along the way. And right now, it’s a lot easier before we had to spend a lot of time on the road, getting out into facilities and factories and talking to people. Now we’ve got other ways we can do that, in addition to getting out on the road. So I think during COVID, we did lose that ability for that face to face.
But we were able to leverage a lot of other things in terms of social media, in terms of zoom calls, and really the power of our brands, that was established before everything happened, so that we could use those technologies to still stay in front of people, people still knew who we were, they didn’t lose track of us. And we were able to adapt to whatever they needed, and just listen to them.
They’ll tell you what they need. It’s up to you then to apply that understanding, apply what you know about the marketplace from being involved in it. And fortunately, in my case, fortunate enough to be associated with a lot of super talented people that can take that and create really dynamic products that keep people engaged, and keep your brands in front of them. That’s what we’ve been able to do.
Curt Anderson 11:55
Yeah, and that’s awesome. And it’s so inspiring. So you know, and obviously, hopefully, we’re getting on the other side of COVID. But what are some of the things that you saw up front, you know, you know, you have a front row seat and really everything cutting edge. And uh, guys, I dropped their website in the link, I think David’s put the podcasts in the chat box there. So you definitely want to follow and connect with these guys.
So I love like on today’s on your today manufacturing podcast, you guys will have like, you know what, there was like a drone thing last last week, right? You guys had like a little What was it? rogue rogue drone hits human or something like, you know, and you have to listen to the podcast, we’re not going to tell you about it. So, but you guys are catching all these great headlines, you have a front row seat of everything. So now what would what was the take? or What did you see going on with manufacturers? Now that we’re transitioning out of COVID?
Anna Wells 12:46
Yeah, I do. I’m gonna take that. Sure. Yeah, I think there. Would we look at what, you know, since we’re talking about e commerce here, right. Like, we look at what our audience is doing. I think it’s been well documented that there’s a lot of businesses who are really ramping up their tech investments at this time. You know, I hate to use the term new normal, because we’re all really probably tired of that phrase. But I mean, there’s something to be said about the pandemics ability to kind of galvanize these trends that that many businesses were putting off till later.
And what we’re hearing now is that there’s kind of no more kicking that can down the road, it’s become pretty obvious when you look at the increase in e commerce spending that, you know, and buyers insistence to that they have no intention of going back to the old way of doing business, right. And that’s really what the data is telling us. Yeah, so I think there’s going to be less you know, in person selling, there’ll be more online interactions, whether those are person to person, like on zoom, or whether they’re transactional in the traditional sense of buying goods and services on a supplier website. I think you have to call it the new normal because nobody’s going back, you know,
Jeff Reinke 14:04
yeah, just kind of just kind of building on what Diana was saying. Every year, we do kind of a purchasing intent survey of our readers. And last we didn’t do and last year because things were weird. Didn’t make a lot of sense we knew was going to be off. So we look at Yeah, we look at 2019. Online purchasing was the sixth most prominent choice in terms of when selecting a supplier. Okay, number one was price to his availability. Now, when we do that survey again this year, that’s gonna change.
Yeah, okay. Price and availability are obviously always going to be important, but that ability to online purchasing, because the paradigm has shifted. And I think it’s especially shifted for a lot of small to mid size manufacturers. Yeah, I mean, according to Nam, you’re looking at 75% of us manufacturing plants have fewer than 20 employees. Yeah, purchasing is a lot different when you got 20 people, 200 people, 2000 people, I think a lot of that is going to become a little bit more universal with the growth of it. In the way that it can be embedded into a lot of different things, that impacts, you know, enterprise visibility in terms of supply chain and asset management and all that.
Curt Anderson 15:10
Absolutely. And so for all of us in this space, we’re hoping people don’t say, Hey, COVID is behind us, let’s go back to how it used to be, how there might be, you know, some of those out there were like, Hey, we’re gonna go back to how it used to be. But and what do you seen as far as like, let’s dig into the content, you guys are a content creating machine. You guys are experts, you don’t talk to talk, you walk the walk, and you’re covering all sorts of different aspects, different industries, newsletters. Okay, so that’s what you guys do.
So for the widget maker, the person that’s just cranking out, you know, their operational excellence, they know how to make their part better than anybody. How do you help those folks? Or what do you what type of content are you seeing that will help those manufacturers turn things around?
Anna Wells 15:52
Sure. So. So obviously, we produce a lot of our own content to reach our audience, but we also as a service that our company provides, we produce content for other companies? We do have, we do so we have a lot of expertise in manufacturing, design, distribution. So companies, I think, really have a need to help drive traffic to their very expensive and cutting edge websites that maybe don’t people don’t have a reason to go to unless they have a specific buying need at that moment. But there’s a lot of companies out there that think Well, hey, like, how can I get?
How can I get these tire kickers? You know, on the internet? How do I prospect via the internet, you know, I mean, I think content is a really good way to do that. It’s a good way to create a reason to establish a relationship with somebody in the vast broad expanses of the internet, where you have a ton of competition.
You know, people always I think one piece of advice I would give to people who are trying to market industrial buyers is I think a lot of people overthink it. You know, they there’s a lot of people out there that are saying, like to b2b companies to act like b2c companies, right? Like, get out there, get your name out there blast as much as you can be a social media, hire a young person, given your Twitter handle or whatever. I think there’s something to be said for that. But we’ve tried everything as a media company.
And I mean, everything right? To help kind of nurture our relationships with our audience, and some stuff works and some stuff doesn’t. As far as like a b2c strategy, I think like, you can waste a lot of time and a lot of money trying to win social media. But you know, at the core of it, you need to have strong content, you need to reach that audience in really more effective and targeted ways, versus just trying to amass some arbitrary number of Twitter followers or whatever it is that you’re trying to do there.
It takes a little bit of creative thinking. But I think, you know, to your point, Kurt, like, getting back to content that provides some sort of actionable insight for your buyers is really important, because you can build those social media accounts, but what are you going to do with them, you know, unless you unless you have a promo every day, unless you got a discount code every day or something, you know, you need to provide something of value to those to those buyers.
So we think that that’s video, we think, now is a great time for creating like product demo videos. I mean, there’s less face to face selling out there right now is a great time to show these folks that, here’s what we do. Here’s what we offer, make it easy for them. That’s, you know, that’s what I would suggest.
Curt Anderson 18:55
Yeah, go ahead.
Jeff Reinke 18:57
Sorry, not to beat it to death. But again, just ask your audience, ask your customers what they want. And it’s just delivering them. I think, how many times have you guys or anybody listening? How many times have you heard, Hey, have you seen our new site, we just spent all this time and money developing this fantastic site, and you go there, and it’s great. But there’s nothing to keep you there. Right?
That’s where the content comes in. That’s where all that stuff comes in. Because again, to Anna’s point, you could have social media whiz kids all day long, if you aren’t driving them someplace where they want to stay and engage. What’s the point? Right, and that’s how you really formulate those relationships. And the other thing is, I would just say have a little personality. Don’t be it doesn’t have to be like sort of that you know, dragnet just the facts, man type of Yeah. A little personality.
Have some fun with it. I mean, yeah, engineers are people too, right. I mean, you know, we’ve gone out on a limb with David, he does go a little too far once in a while. We have to reel it in. But to your point, you know, that works too. So yeah, it comes down to just just talk to your audience. And then develop that strategy around that. And I think you’ll be happy because you’ll be a lot more cost effective and all those investments you make and all those outlets to try to get a hold of people.
Curt Anderson 20:09
Right. And just you know what, just let David loose. You know, there you just you can’t rein him in. But now,
Jeff Reinke 20:15
we can’t do that. By the way, David, tell you how he got his job, how he got hired here. Because it was because a girl liked him. That’s the only reason he got his job.
Curt Anderson 20:29
Well, it worked. That’s good. It’s always about, you know, there’s always a girl behind that story. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 20:37
yeah. David said, and now she’s my wife. So yeah.
Curt Anderson 20:42
Yeah. And I think didn’t didn’t get data. Did you have a baby through COVID I thought he had a baby last year or something like that. Today, right? Yeah. So what? So first, I want to give a shout out to a bunch of we have a bunch of people coming in. Yeah. And I think Jeff, it looks like somebody has the same last name as us there’s somebody paitent in your world that could be on our program. Today’s that parent
Jeff Reinke 21:03
Yeah, that would be my wife. Hey, Ron.
Curt Anderson 21:04
Hey, I’m sorry if I’m doing the pay run so pay Ron welcome. Gail, john Jean My dear friend Jean Greg misuse. So Greg, misuse your neighbor and Madison. He’s a content King. So he’s with us today. Our friends in Alaska are here, man. We got john. We got Westling.
All sorts of folks. But let me and I’m going to throw this at you. Okay, I’m going to go old school. I’m an older dude. Let’s say in manufacturing, there was this thing called Trent, you know, maybe maybe Damien, you remember print from the 80s? And 90s? Yeah, yeah. It’s let’s, how about this myth is let’s put it the rest Anna right now is Yeah. Is it alive? Or is it dead? What like, what are we hearing from the authorities on content?
Anna Wells 21:45
Yes, well, I have a vested interest. But I think that print in in many ways is still very relevant. We hear a lot from our audience, there’s a lot of folks that I think get internet fatigue. And they enjoy having something tactile, they can pick up and put down and take their time with, you don’t worry about losing that URL. It’s just sitting on your desk, right? You can share it with other people. It’s it’s just easy.
And there’s a lot of us, I think that like, just like that. I think it also for us, at least, it’s really provided a good foundation that helps support some of our digital products, because because it does sort of nod to like long term consistency of our brands. You know, anyone can build a website. There’s, as I said before, and you all know, there’s a ton of competition online, print just sort of helps create a nice support system, I think for for all of that internet noise that there is, you know, so we, we like to see people use both. I mean, I use both, right, I think it’s more common than then people think that print is still very viable in this market. Right. Okay.
Damon Pistulka 23:12
So I’ve got one question for you. Because you talk, we all talk about COVID and how it changed the, the digital landscape for everyone. But I guess some that I speak about a lot, because I think that it’s happening, and we it’s been happening for a long time is really the the changing demographics of the of the population in the workforce, you know, and I wonder how much this just brought that to the forefront that, that, you know, we we have so many people that grew up with the internet now that are their key decision makers in business over the last five to 10 years.
That really is people that are my age and a little bit older. I’ve gotten out of the industries and a lot of respects in the buying decision makers and maybe more in the executives were there. Yeah, proving whatever they’re going to buy kind of thing. That How much do you think that is really affecting the drive towards digital transformation in e commerce? As much as COVID?
Curt Anderson 24:08
Hmm, great question.
Jeff Reinke 24:10
I think it’s a combination of both. You can’t live in it. Just as there’s a generational shift, there’s a technological shift. And those things kind of go hand in hand. So I think a generation coming up that is more used to those types of using those types of things doing more on their phone than we’re used to doing a laptop computer.
Yeah, that definitely has an impact. But those technologies aren’t going to come to the forefront unless there’s value attached to them unless they actually get the job done. And the the biggest challenge right now, more than a generational thing is just the skills gap. Right? Doesn’t really matter about the age, it’s the individual’s understanding of technology, how to implement it, how to utilize it, and also wanting to within the industrial sector. So so a lot of those things kind of bleed together a bit.
Anna Wells 24:55
And I would say to, you know, I thought it was interesting to see how much executive level mentality changed during the pandemic, when you talk about things like work from home and their comfort level with remote work. It was a huge transition from the company’s pre pandemic, who said I would let the bulk of my workforce work from home and definitely to a year in when almost all companies said yes, they were comfortable with that. And I think it was because it forced that upon us, and people saw that it could work.
And so I think that it’s sort of one in the same in the sense that, you know, maybe the pandemic forced some things upon us that we had to try out that we weren’t ready to dry. But But now people are thinking No, no, this could work. And, and, you know, I think generationally, I mean, my dad is in his late 60s, and he uses Amazon, he’s got an iPhone, like I just people are. Right, yeah, I think it’s everywhere, you know, everywhere. Yeah.
Curt Anderson 25:56
Yeah, that that is the new normal, you know, and it’s just, it is just convenient. And you think about people that had, maybe they had board meetings or had events that they used to go to, and then all sudden COVID everything trans transition to zoom. And then people are like, man, I could do this meeting in my pajamas.
I don’t have to show up in person. I don’t have to commute like, you know, and it’s gonna be interesting. We’re in the past if we said that, no way, you can’t do a meeting on zoom. You have to be in person. Then also once you start to do and you’re like, Man, this is really convenient. I don’t have to fight with traffic. I don’t get you know, you know, all that all that stuff. But one thing I wanted to ask you guys in Jeff, Jeff, since the wife is on the program, let’s make I’m gonna make you look really impressive, too.
Jeff Reinke 26:37
Just to clarify, though, she’s only here cuz she’s a fan of Anna’s. That’s me, Ron, she’s here.
Curt Anderson 26:45
But hey, brother, I got your back. So this is a question for authorea. softball. Jose, you mentioned, you mentioned with Nam, 75% of all manufacturers are 20 employees or less. So not every manufacturer has a Dan bigger, who’s on our program, who’s just a relentless, tenacious marketer.
You see Dan everywhere, he’s just, he’s an amazing, inspirational man of of integrity. But you know, not everybody has the luxury of having someone like a Dan on their team. Well, how do you you know, for the 20 person manufacturer in there, you know, tight on resources tight on time, maybe they haven’t had that taste of success with e commerce or digital marketing? How do you approach those folks that that don’t have that internal team that can really rock it for them?
Jeff Reinke 27:29
Well, and I can almost hear Anna and David rolling their eyes right now, because one of the things that I talk a ton about is blocking and tackling. It’s, it’s the simple stuff, you start with what start with what you know, start with what you can do, you don’t have to worry about all the bells and whistles, don’t try to do everything that everybody else is doing. It’s 10 times your size.
Stick with what you know, if you’re a 20 person, machine shop, talk about the things that you’re doing. Understand that you can’t talk specifically about a client or proprietary information. But if you’re doing some cool stuff, take some photos, put them up on the site, say, hey, look, it’s the kind of stuff we’re working on here.
These are the type of people we’re working with, had a great conversation the other day, and just put a personal tone to it focus on the areas that you know, that you feel comfortable talking about. And you’ll be surprised how many more people start reaching out to you to want to work with you to want to have input. Maybe you’ve been working with some of those customers to develop content, and maybe they have some folks that can help you. Or I do know a couple of editors in Madison, Wisconsin who have worked with small and medium sized manufacturers a little bit. We’d love to talk to you as well. So absolutely. Anna, Can
Curt Anderson 28:35
I throw that question? If you want to segue or anything that you want to piggyback on on those comments there?
Anna Wells 28:40
Yeah, I will piggyback kind of on Jeff’s last comment. But if, when in doubt, outsource it, I think people think that it’s going to be a bigger commitment of resources or time or maybe no one understands buy products. So we’re the only ones that can do this. I don’t think that that’s true. I mean, we have done tons of product videos for our clients and all it takes is them submitting like five lines of the top features and benefits and a bunch of photos and we can our video team who they’re like wizards can create a video I think they’re showing Yeah, one right now like getting themselves in the back right? Yeah.
Okay, you guys are great. Yep. You know, but but really like, we have all this technology in house, we have a studio we have a light box, we have all this stuff. all you’re gonna do is put your tool in a box and send it to us and we could create this for you and is really, you know, high end nice looking video that you can use wherever on your, you know, in your marketing campaigns on social media on your site.
As Jeff said, Just you got to take some of those steps forward to try to get something out there because you know, you have this really nice website and all these bells and whistles and it sits there dormant and I think nothing worse than A fresh brand new social media account or a website is one that is not being updated. That does not make you look good. It’s not a good look.
Curt Anderson 30:10
Right? And that’s and so great question for you guys. If I’m following the chat box here, Dan bigger asked is Wisconsin, the marketing capital of the world? Because apparently, Damon, everybody on our show is, you know, Greg misu, Jen, alpha, Christina and Kevin. Yeah, Laurie hyvee. was on the program a few probably a month ago. He absolutely crushed it. So I think there’s something going on in Wisconsin.
Must be I don’t know, maybe the water cheese. Aaron Aaron, you know? Yeah. Aaron. Oh, is she comes on our program. She’s always talking about the cheese in Wisconsin. So guys, let’s talk a little bit about social strategy. So like you’re saying, you know, whether that small manufacturer bigger manufacturer, how about from a social standpoint, what other tips and advice do you have? If they’re not going to go full blown content, you know, they want to dip their toe into it?
Anna Wells 31:01
You know, like I said before, we’ve tried everything. There’s, there’s a lot of social media channels out there. There’s a lot of time to be wasted on social media. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Danna is a huge Tick Tock fan. I spend most of my time tick talking. I don’t even know what that is. My teenage daughter? Yeah.
No, I’m too old. Particularly. But but to Jeff’s point, like, you know, we know that a lot of people use Instagram, for example, like a lot of people use Instagram, our readers do not use Instagram. So, you know, there’s no point in spending a bunch of time on there, trying to harness an audience that is not really receptive to what you’re doing, you know, look towards like, things like LinkedIn have been successful for us.
Because these are more like business oriented users. Some brands, we’ve had success with Twitter and Facebook, some brands we don’t, it’s a lot of trial and error. And it’s not a set it and forget it approach. You have to use analytics, you have to look at the data, and decide if this is a good use of your time or not. And if it’s not, I would just say cut and get out of there do something else. You know, there’s just lots there lots of ways to reach an audience. And then on social media, you just have to be selective.
Curt Anderson 32:20
Yeah. So So Jeff, I’ll throw this at you. So for 2021 again, as the world’s changing what are what’s initiatives internally for the team? What are you seeing on the forefront? What do you guys doubling down? I know you’re aggressive now on your podcast? What are you seeing? What are you going? What are you doing internally, to kind of come out at COVID? For 2021? Here?
Jeff Reinke 32:42
Yeah, I think one of the great things again, with this, the digitization of media and all the things that we’re doing, there’s metrics all over the place that you can look at and really get a feel that being evasive in terms of people’s preferences, but just seeing how they’re engaging with what you’re sending out.
In addition to the daily newsletters, we’ve got a big group of people that we now send weekly newsletters, there are people who said, Hey, we’d like your stuff, we’re not going to click on it every day. So we’ve got three new weekly newsletters that we’re sending out. So we’ve got four total weekly newsletters that we do now. And those are doing very well. So it’s taking those individuals who we know are relative to what we’re putting together.
And just making it more customizable. for that. I think that’s been the biggest trend that we’ve seen really over the last couple of years. And it’s going to continue to grow. There are people who are going to say, hey, look, I don’t want the new stuff, I get news, other places, but send me white papers, send me some of the information they need about new products in the area. I would rather listen to a weekly podcast than getting a weekly newsletter, whatever that is, it’s just being fluid. And I know I’ve said it way too many times.
But the market will tell you, you just got to listen, in addition to telling you what you should do, they’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do. There’s plenty of things we’ve thrown on the wall. And the reason the marketplace has said no. So guess what, we didn’t fight them on it. We said okay, we’ll do something else. Right. It’s just constantly adapting. Because, you know, the, the millennial generation isn’t the only one that’s constantly changing their minds and what they want. That’s everybody, that’s every consumer. And even though we’re a b2b company, they’re consumers of our products. And we have to be respectful of how their needs and their wants change.
Curt Anderson 34:19
Right? And when So I love that you guys are talking about like that. I love that black and tackle. I might borrow that sometime. Jeff so you know, don’t eat the elephant Don’t you know, and that’s so challenging for manufacturers that haven’t, you know, we’ve never done marketing but was for 5060 years third generation. And just it was word of mouth trade shows. So it is a little bit of daunting, you know, kind of get into that new forefront.
And you’re talking about, you know, trial and error trying new things. How do you guys internally you get to a point Hey, we tried this when you decide to cut or move on, or when you see like traction? Jeff’s laughing maybe maybe both have an answer for that one.
Jeff Reinke 34:55
I’m laughing because we have these conversations all the time. Yeah, yeah. different ideas in terms of Hey, what about this? What about this? Right? And the great thing about we’ve worked together long enough, there’s no like hurt feelings, okay? When we throw something out and people are like, no, that’s terrible idea. All right. So we’ll move on. So we’re constantly sort of pushing no no right term. But yeah, constantly exploring different thoughts and different ideas, things that we see other people doing that we think we could do better. Right. Yeah. So there’s there’s always different concepts that bouncing around a little bit.
Anna Wells 35:30
Yeah, I think for us, one thing that’s made us successful, is actually our size. We’re a very small company. And so that’s allowed us to remain pretty nimble. And, you know, we can move quickly when we need to, you know, cut and move on. I think if you want to mimic that, I would just suggest, like, Don’t involve too many people don’t schedule too many meetings, don’t create a giant SAP with a lot of red tape. That stuff gets in your way. And I know that like we all want to make sure that we’re presenting our brands in the best way. But if that’s going to, you know, hamper your efforts in the long run, because you can’t get anything out the door. Then you got to do it a different way.
Curt Anderson 36:15
Yeah, no, I absolutely love that. We have some we have a great little bantering going on in the chat. So though Wisconsin might be the marketing capital. So Wessling, my dear friend, love us lane. What’s wrong with you guys, Texas is the manufacturing capital world.
She says, After all, we are our own country, then my dear buddy, Brian, up in Alaska says, If you cut Alaska in half, Texas is the third largest state just saying so dynamic. That was what to get you guys together at the table afterwards. So guys, we’re 10. After the hour, we’re going to wrap up because I do if you have a few more minutes, we’d love for you to come back to the tables where you just were. And I’d love for everybody to get a chance to talk to you guys.
One on One, we can jump around the tables. A couple quick questions to wrap up on for you. So um, and we’re talking about like being nimble block and tackle let’s not be overwhelmed. Just if you’re a manufacturer, it’s new, just kind of let’s get on the field, right? Just getting again, anything that’s been shocking, either whether internally or for your clients, or for manufacturers, we’re like, man, I didn’t see that coming. This strategy really took off or like when you guys are bouncing, you know, thrown those ideas in a wall, anything that really stuck that you were surprised by you that you guys can think of your outfit that’s either one of you.
Anna Wells 37:28
Well, for me, I I thought that podcasts, were not going to make it. I did. Back Back when they first got off the ground. They kind of did this. And then people forgot about podcasts for a while, I think because radio was just so intense, the internet was just booming, right. But suddenly, and I think the pandemic has helped this. podcasts are back big. And that’s exciting. Because I get a lot of value, personally, and I’m sure you guys do too. And so that’s been fun to see, you know, we’ve been in this business how long and we just launched our podcast six months ago. So podcast, man, I’m, I’m seeing it, I’m seeing the future. So
Curt Anderson 38:15
awesome. Jeff, how about you anything, any, any surprising strategies, tactics that work for you or for clients that you want to share?
Jeff Reinke 38:23
I think one of the things so one of the hats I wear here too is I work a lot with our, our circulation in our database, our reader database. And it’s just been interesting to see, especially during the pandemic, how those interests have become much more much more direct in terms of what people want.
And as a result, we have been able to do different things and really put people into groups not to, you know, exclude, but more just to get them what they want, in terms of white papers, videos, whatever. They’re just become seems like those tastes and those interests are becoming much more defined. And I think that bleeds into print as well. You know, we were talking about that before. Print is all about quality. And I think value really, that’s a big value proposition there. And I think a lot of publishers began to really look at print as a commodity item, just something else that they did.
We look at it as value, period, it’s not value added its value. And like we wouldn’t do it, there’s no benefit. We have big circulation on industrial equipment news. We could put those funds other places if there wasn’t value for both the reader and the advertiser there. So I think the biggest thing I’m seeing right now and it’s not a surprise, but it’s just the level that it continues to evolve in terms of those customized preferences in terms of what people want. Yeah, awesome.
Curt Anderson 39:37
So a couple last things we’ll wrap up so my dear friend, gals on the program guys you got to be gal, she’s just absolutely amazing. But I know you have a lot of guest writers that come in your program I’ve I’ve had the honor and privilege couple articles. Greg, miss you. We had Paul tyshee on our show a few weeks ago. I know he’s written for you guys. If there’s anybody out there wants to contribute How can they contribute to to your your periodicals.
Jeff Reinke 40:00
Basically they can they can email any of us. I’ve been handling a lot of those right now kind of contributed side. So if you want to just reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org Yeah, we can definitely talk about it.
Curt Anderson 40:10
All right, awesome. Awesome. I’ve dropped, put your, your manufacturing dotnet is in the chat box. Guys. My last question. We’re going to close it out for the weekend. Every week we ask our our guests, our dear friend Allison afford who’s a manufacturing marketing guru.
She’s Wonder Woman. She’s just a rock star. She preaches to us. She’s taught us how do we help make our clients the hero of our story? So my last question to you guys, Anna, Jeff, how do you make your clients, your customers, your readers the hero of your story? Well, don’t you deny that not for me? I’m not I’m not original enough for that one. So
Damon Pistulka 40:51
that’s a good one.
Jeff Reinke 40:52
I think again, it sounds like a broken record. You listen to them. And they’ll they’ll tell you. The other thing is, the other thing is this, when we covered it, it’s not about the byline. It’s about the information that we can put out to help our readers do their job.
One of the things that Richard Wright, who’s the the CEO of our company has said since the first day I met him more than 15 years ago is what keeps them up at night. What problems do they have? What are their critical issues? So for us, whether it’s talking to our reader or our advertiser, in this case, the heroes of our industry, it’s about solving those things that are their biggest problems. That’s why we try to do and that’s what really drives our content strategy.
Curt Anderson 41:31
And that’s what we love and admire what your mission is, the heroes of your story are the manufacturers of our country. So you know, it is is such an admirable cause that you guys are behind our hats off to you, you know, much love respect. Just love what you guys do on a daily basis. David, you know, hearts out to you, brother. So guys, we’re gonna wrap up. I can’t thank you both enough. I know how busy you are. Thank you for joining us today. Please reach out follow sign up for their newsletters. David Thank you job LinkedIn profiles in the chat box for us go to manufacturing dotnet so Damon, let’s close this out, brother.
Damon Pistulka 42:07
All right. Well, thanks, Kurt. Thanks to our guests today. It was so awesome to listen about this and and you know, I remember I een before some people on here probably were born. But it’s it’s awesome to talk to hear you talk about it. It’s it’s really interesting as you look at the manufacturing industry overall, and that you’re still relevant con reel, still relevant content going out and how it’s changing digitally as well and just love to see it because it’s exciting. So thanks so much, everyone.
Thanks. If you’ve been listening on LinkedIn, I know we saw Matt goose he was on LinkedIn. He was commenting there and then he’s jumping on remotes. I love that too. But if you’ve been listening on LinkedIn, we’re here every Friday, same time 130. Eastern Time. Get back here next week, we got an another set of great guests that are going to be talking about manufacturing ecommerce. And we will go back to the tables now on Remo so we can talk there. Thanks, everyone. Sounds good. Thank
Curt Anderson 43:09
you guys. Thanks, guys. Happy Friday. Thanks, guys.